Barack Omaba has opened a new page in modern political history. He has been sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America, the first non white person to lead the most powerful country of modern times.
More than one million people gathered in the National Mall in a wintry Washington DC, to see Obama take the oath shortly after noon EST.
He used his inaugural address to vow to begin the work of “remaking America”.
The new US leader said his country faced a number of challenges but was entering a “new era of responsibility”.
Obama made reference to the scale of his achievement at being the first black American elected to the White House, in a remark that gathered one of the biggest cheers of the speech.
“This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed… why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”
The challenges we face are real,” Obama said. “They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.
“But know this America – they will be met.”
Invoking the memory of the US’s Founding Fathers, Obama said he would strive to rebuild his nation’s standing in the world, saying: “We are ready to lead once more.”
He spoke candidly of the economic crisis and foreign policy challenges facing the US, saying the US would “responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan”.
The new president also addressed the world’s poor and the Muslim world, much of which angrily opposed the actions of the previous administration.